Monday, February 8, 2016

What Bugs You?

What's bugging me?  Shoddy merchandise - clothing, household items - you name it, nothing is "like it used to be."  

On the weekend I purchased two sets of queen size sheets and a comforter set in a bag - well, out of that, one pair of sheets and the set are going back - I bought the comforter set at Home Sense, I was hopeful, but it wasn't to be, the comforter was way too small for the bed and the black pillow sham had a white stitch randomly placed, not another white stitch to be seen on the sham!    So disappointed!!  The sheets I bought at Costco, I had never purchased a pair of sheets there before, but there was a lady  getting a pair, not her first pair as she praised them to the highest - I would be hard pressed to say anything good  about them, they were too tight on the bed, I didn't like the feel of them and worst of all, there was a hole in them!!  It's no sense to buy sheets that are too tight for the bed, I bought a new set in the summer, they just made their way to Value Village - they shrunk up so much, I couldn't even tuck in the sheet.  The one set of sheets that I did keep  are so wrinkly after washing and drying, I will need to iron the pillowcases - that is a step back for sure, I can remember my grandmother doing that!    It's a sad situation - one set of sheets were made in China, another in Bahrain - to tell you the truth, I don't even know where Bahrain is!!!  I think you'd be looking a long time to find things like this made in Canada.

That brings me to clothing, nearly every piece of clothing now has to be hung up to dry, or it will shrink to nothing, clothing doesn't last!!!    My husband had a winter jacket this year, that had to go back, the stuffing started coming out of it, just after normal wear.  I bought a pair of leggings, pulled them on once, a hole!  

And while I'm on a little rant,  here's something that bugs me about blogs and Instagram - people that don't respond to your comments - I always try my best at that.    And, on that note,  I'll close this  post!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Coloured Pencils or Markers?

I started colouring in July, this is what my stash of colouring books looks like now, I was very lucky at Christmas - it was definitely a colouring Christmas!!!

If you're colouring, I'm interested to know your preference in coloured pencils and markers.  I prefer to colour with pencils but some pages just call for markers, really, just about every page in the "Fantastic Cities" page does, as the images are so small.  

I started out with a small box of Hilroy pencils, I quickly knew that would never be enough, I bought a small box of Crayola, then moved on to the big Crayola box.  I was happy with the array or colours but as I coloured more, the leads started to break, sharpening was really doing a number on them.  At this point, I probably would not buy any more Crayola.

I was hoping for something better for Christmas, I wasn't disappointed.

My husband secretly picked up the box of Sargent pencils the last time we were in the US at Hobby Lobby, I really like these pencils, there are 56 different colours, there are so many extras in this box which is great.  I also received a metallic box of Faber Castell pencils, I like the way these ones colour too.    My son gave me Prismacolor Premier pencils they are beautiful, they glide along the page, the colours are vibrant, I love them!  I might be spoiled!!

My first package of markers came from Dollarama, they're not bad at all, I had one dry up, maybe the cover wasn't on tightly, and one tip break off.  So, I thought I had to have more colours, I bought this box of Maped markers at Staples, not good - I couldn't even finish a flower and the marker was dried up, it happened to me twice, I haven't used them much since - I don't want to ruin another page.    Do you use markers and what kind?

Storing your pencils is another problem - where to put them for easy access.  My husband bought this art box at a yard sale or thrift shop, he made slots for my pencils and now I have a really nice storage box.  It opens up on top too so I can keep extra paper in there to put between the pages.  I love it!!

This page I did with the Prismacolor pencils, in the Animal Kingdom book.

Another page from the  Animal Kingdom book, done with the Sargent pencils.  I really like this book and any book that has thick pages is my favourite!

I'd love to hear what your preferences are...

Monday, January 25, 2016

This is All I Bought

My husband was on a business trip last week, I tagged along, I like when that happens!!!  I poke around  wherever I want - I checked out a few antique markets and a few thrift stores.   I know I don't buy much any more, but really, I expected at least a couple more little things!  I nearly had two Vera scarves, one scarf seemed familiar and it was priced at $5 so I wasn't taking the chance, the other scarf I had lined up to pay, there were about ten people ahead of me and one cashier open - not worth it for one scarf which wasn't even an exceptional one!

My purchases were both made at antique markets, not a thrift store purchase to be had, which is sad.  The vintage merchandise in these stores is just not there now, I am so glad I have what I do and found a lot of it for great prices.   And, there was one less store to shop at as all Ontario Goodwill shops closed last week.    

I am always on the lookout for one of these Prince Edward Island pennants, finally, I have one..

I love vintage Valentines, the copyright on this Valentine book is 1980 so I guess we'll say it's vintage, as you can't buy these books now.    Some pages are punch out, some are to be cut out - it's so cute!  I plan to use some in my Pocket Letters.

I think the days of me having many thrifty find posts are coming to a screeching halt - but like I've said, I really need nothing.  I still like to look though!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Creamy Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

I love it when I find a new recipe that's easy to make and tastes delicious.  I found this "Creamy Shrimp Alfredo Pasta" today when I was browsing - the original recipewas found on I thank her for posting this tasty recipe!!

Creamy Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

Fettucine or Penne Pasta

Shrimp - I used 10 large shrimp for the two of us

1 tbsp. oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. butter

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup white wine

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Sprinkle of Paprika

Parsley or basil for garnish

Lightly season shrimp with salt, pepper and paprika.  Preheat large skillet to med/high and add 1 tbsp. oil.  Add shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes per side, do not overcook.  Remove shrimp to a bowl.

I started cooking the fettucine after the first step.  Drain when cooked, do not rinse.

In your same frying pan, over medium/high heat, add 2 tbsp. butter, cook onion, stir in garlic and cook together.  Stir in 1/3 cup white wine and reduce to 25%, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan.

Stir in cream and simmer for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle the top with 1/3 cup parmesan and stir until creamy and smooth.  Add 1/4 tsp. paprika and season with salt and pepper.

Turn off heat and add cooked shrimp and pasta to the frying pan.  Garnish with parsley or basil.

This is a definite winner, I've pinned it for future use!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Pocket Letters

My first post for 2016 and it's going to be about "Pocket Letters" because I love making them, swapping and receiving them in the mail.   I started this craze back in the spring, I haven't made as many as some people, but I still feel like I'm addicted to them!!!  I've met some great ladies through these swaps, some of which I continue to swap with.  Honesty is a big part of it, 95% of the time everything goes smoothly, but there are always those people out there who commit to a swap and then come up with excuse after excuse why you haven't received their letter.  I don't swap with them again!  

That's all the letters that have arrived at my house - I really need to get bigger binders.  I received 21 Christmas letters, which I placed all in the bulging binder at the top.   In total there are 62 pocket letters in those binders.

After being away over Christmas, I made my first letter yesterday, to replace one that didn't reach it's destination, mine didn't make it to her either, that's so strange!   She requested a winter one.   Today, all the Christmas and winter things will be packed away, next up - Valentine Pocket Letters or just what ever I want!    

Here's a couple of Christmas letters I made...

And a couple of regular ones that I made a while back...

 I look forward to lots more fun swaps this year!!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Recipes Only for Christmas

I've been doing some baking this week but since we are going away for Christmas, I don't have to do as much and what I do make, has to travel well!

Last year I discovered "Cuban Lunch" on Instagram - we loved these and quickly became one of our favourites.  People have said this was a chocolate bar, I had never heard of it - it really was, it was mostly a Western Canadian bar, made in Winnipeg by Paulin's or so I've read.    This recipe was the first one I googled, so I chose that, there are other variations, I won't be changing, we like this one!

Cuban Lunch

2 c. peanut butter chips

2 c. butterscotch chips

2 c. chocolate chips

1 1/2 c. crushed ripple potato chips

1 1/2 c. peanuts (salted or unsalted)

Melt together the peanut butter, butterscotch & chocolate chips in top of double boiler (I used the microwave)

Add crushed potato chips and peanuts.

Mix together with melted chips.

Spoon into mini cupcake  paper cups.

Keep in refrigerator.

This next recipe is one of my daugther's favourites - they're easy and they're good - they're Peppermint Meltaways!

Peppermint Meltaways

1 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. icing sugar

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

1 1/4 c. flour

1/2 c. cornstarch

In small bowl, cream butter & icing sugar until light and fluffly.  Beat in extract.  Combine flour & cornstarch, gradually add to creamed mixture, mix well.

Shape into 1 inch balls.  Place 2 inches part on ungreased pan ( I use parchment).  Bake 350 - 10-12 minutes.

Frosting - 

2 tbsp. butter, softened

1 1/2 c. icing sugar

2 tbsp. milk

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

2-3 drops of food colouring.  I use very little as I want them to be a very light pink.

In small bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add icing sugar, milk, extract and food colouring.  Beat until smooth.

Delicious - both of them!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Christmas Story & The Leg Lamp

I love this movie!!!  But, I never discovered it until a couple of years ago, hard to believe because it was first shown in 1983 - my children missed the experience of this great movie!  But, now they know about it!!!!

I found a little Hallmark tree ornament in the shape of the "leg lamp" from the movie, I was content with that until I was away this past weekend and saw a 20 inch lamp, I loved it but I thought it was too expensive, that was on Friday night, I thought about it all weekend, I went back on Sunday afternoon, gone - every one!!  I was so disappointed - really disappointed!!!

I started searching the internet and found where I could order here in Canada, I ordered Sunday night, I had my leg lamp yesterday.  Lesson learned there though, I ended up paying more but it's worth it,   it's everything I had hoped for!!

If you've watched the movie, you know all about the leg lamp - how Ralphie's father won the full size lamp - "It's a Major Award", Fra-gee-lay - It must be Italian, Isn't it Glorious - and, my lamp if glorious!

When we were in Cleveland last year visiting the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame, we stopped at The Christmas Story House but it was too late in the day, it was closed.   But, I did see the lamp in the window - the film was shot in Cleveland and Toronto - here's an article about the Toronto locations that were used in the film.  I want to go back to Cleveland again so I can tour the house and visit the gift shop across the street!!  

This is my very favourite Christmas movie!!  Do you like it?